Sen. Mark Begich and Edward Itta, mayor of the North Slope Borough, had the same message at an oil spill hearing Monday in Washington. Drilling in the Arctic provides different challenges than deepwater offshore drilling.
The hearing came about after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as legislators look for ways to make sure it doesn't happen again.
As part of their testimony the two men said when Alaskans saw the Gulf of Mexico spill it brought back the horrors of the Exxon-Valdez spill and the need for more regulation.
That's why Begich introduced legislation that would create additional safeguards to make sure those affected by oil spills are properly compensated.
Itta also testified that Arctic waters provide different challenges to spill response, like proximity to Coast Guard stations, darkness and ice.
“If the plan is to move forward with Arctic oil and gas activity, you should know that responding to a small spill will be hard enough. Responding to a massive spill is impossible,” said Itta.
“If we sit here and just wait for everything to be done honestly, we may not have this forum, but we will be sitting around talking about 70-percent of our oil resources coming for 10 instead of 60 that is not the right equation,” said Begich.
Begich and Itta agreed that Alaska does have rich oil resources, but they just want more regulation to make sure the retrieval of the resources doesn't harm the environment.